By Katie Lundin
You’re creative. And you love to craft!
“You should start an Etsy shop!” your friends say. And, you’ve secretly shared that very same thought.
Here are 4 of the 9 steps you’ll need to know about starting your own business on Etsy. If you like what you read here, be sure to read the comprehensive, no-stress 9 step guide on how to start an Etsy shop.
1. Set Up Your Account
The very first step is to register your account.
You’ll be asked to specify a few basic preferences – like language and currency.
Then they’ll ask you to choose a shop name.
Don’t sweat your shop name just yet. The name you enter here can be changed until you actually open your shop. You can even change it once after opening.
Once you’ve entered a name, you’ll be allowed to stock your shop, set up payment and billing. Etsy does a great job of guiding you through the process – just follow along and you’ll be fine.
Before opening your shop, fill in your bio and add a personal photo.
Writing your bio is a great way to start thinking about who you are, why you’re opening a shop, and what you’re passionate about.
2. Brand Your Etsy Shop
Your Etsy shop will be unique. Your brand and brand identity should also be unique.
You have a brand whether you choose to or not. And, you’ll be better served by making conscious branding choices instead of leaving it to chance.
Etsy is known for its special, one-of-a-kind goods with authentic backstories. Before you post your first listing, ask yourself these important questions:
- What makes my merchandise unique?
- Who will want to buy my products?
- What can customers get from my shop that they can’t get anywhere else?
- What are my brand values?
- What is the most important part of my customer’s experience?
- What identity/personality do I want my shop to project?
Your answers to these questions will build the core of your shop’s brand. Your shop name, your logo, your shop banner or cover photo, and the items you list should all be informed by these core brand ideas.
Etsy Branding Basics
Your shop has three major branded elements that you should be aware of:
- your shop name
- your avatar (usually a logo)
- the shop banner or cover photo
Shop names can’t include spaces, punctuation or more than 20 characters. And, each shop must have a unique name. Since punctuation and spaces are forbidden, use capitalization to ensure your name is understood. For example, “MyEtsyShop” is easier to read than “Myetsyshop.”
The shop avatar is where your logo should go (your personal photo should already be featured under your shop owner profile).
Your logo, like your shop name, should be directly informed by your business brand. Whether your brand is high-end or casual will determine what sorts of imagery and fonts you choose.
Also, remember that Etsy provides a square field for your avatar. So, avoid long horizontal designs and choose a logo that will fit well inside a square.
Shop Banner or Cover Photo:
The top of your Etsy shop is valuable real estate. This is where your banner or cover photo will go. When used effectively, it will memorably differentiate your shop from your competitors.
Etsy allows you to select a small banner (760px X 100px) or a larger cover photo (3360px X 840px) to fill that space.
A cover photo has a distinct advantage over a small banner. Cover photos (as shown above) are visible when your shop is viewed both by computer and by smartphone. Small banners only appear when your shop is viewed on a computer.
You can learn more about the nuts and bolts of establishing and maintaining consistent brand identity in Grow Your Small Business with Consistent Branding.
3. Crunch the Numbers
What numbers are important when starting an Etsy business?
Begin by considering your start-up costs. Start-up costs for an Etsy shop are likely to include:
- your brand design (logo and banner/cover photo design)
- any license or permit fees (check with the SBA)
- basic infrastructural costs like internet service and Etsy listing fees ($0.20 per listing!)
- any crafting tools you need to acquire to make your products
- materials for your first products
Setting Your Prices
Setting the right prices can make or break your shop.
To create an effective pricing strategy, you have to start by knowing how much it costs you to produce or acquire your products.
This includes material costs and the value of your time. And, you’ve got to bake the cost of running your business, (and some profit!) into your prices as well. Otherwise, it will be difficult to sustain your business over time.
You also should consider the less-tangible aspects – competitor pricing and perceived value.
Your potential customers look around to see what a product like yours should cost and competitors often provide a good price reference.
Perceived value is the amount that a customer thinks a product is worth.
How your products look also plays a role. A cheaply-made necklace that looks fancy may have a higher perceived value than a beautifully-made simple necklace.
And, importantly, your branding can influence how your product is perceived, as well. A classy logo and high-end brand positioning will lead to a higher perceived value than an amateur logo and shop banner.
For more information about pricing, check out this guide from the helpful folks at Etsy.
4. Fill in the Business Blanks
You’ll need to choose a legal structure for your new Etsy business. We discuss your options in 15 Tips for Turning Your Craft Hobby Into a Successful Business.
Next, you’ll need to file any necessary paperwork. The U.S. Small Business Administration tells us that a license or permit is necessary for virtually every type of business. Their website has the info you need to find out what license or permit you’ll need for your Etsy shop in your state.
If you need help with business contracts, take a look at Quickly Legal, which offers entrepreneurs, small businesses and startups an easy and inexpensive way to create, sign and manage business contracts and agreements, with many you can start using right away.
Keep listing and keep learning – and before long, your Etsy business will be thriving.
Katie Lundin is a Marketing and Branding Specialist at crowdspring, one of the world’s leading marketplaces for crowdsourced logo design, web design, graphic design, product design, and company naming services. She helps entrepreneurs, small businesses and agencies with branding, design, and naming, and regularly writes about entrepreneurship, small business, and design.
Etsy stock photo by Casimiro PT/Shutterstock